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UNC Torches Duke with 101 Points.

February 12, 2009

For about 30 minutes tonight, North Carolina looked like the best team in the nation. For the other 15 they looked like D-1A scrubs. Not having been on one of the school’s many championship sports teams I don’t really know what it’s like to have a substantial lead and lose focus, but I saw, along with those of you who watched, what it was like.

What I liked most about the win was not Bobby Fraser hitting three straight bombs in the early stages nor Thompson playing up to his potential, not even Lawson scorching the cement footed Duke back court or even Hansbrough’s three. I loved most that Duke really thought they willed themselves into the lead late into the 1st half when it was actually the rodeo clown defense the Heels were playing at that point that allowed Duke wide open looks.

Duke basketball players, many of them over the years, get waaayyyy too excited over hustle plays. I hate the annoying way they celebrate when one of their wormy point guards dive for a loose ball or causes a held ball. I’m sure it has to do with Coach K’s water boarding his athletes or something.

But make no mistake, that kind of play helps them out of a funk when they’re losing. Some one will take a charge and then they’ll hit a three on the ensuing possession and go on a run. I’ve seen similar play as what I saw from Paulus et. al. from Wojo and Hurley.

Thing was, last night’s defensive effort from Carolina in the first half made Duke’s success dead easy. Later Duke could not hit a thing, not that the Heels defense was that much better (Duke still scored almost 90 points). Their exuberance exceeded their actual skills and the law of averages brought Duke’s shooters down to Earth.

Meanwhile, Lawson took the game over, turned into a scoring machine and made sure he got the ball to Tyler.

Very early the Heels were playing more aggressively on defense (recall the steals and deflections that helped them get points from turnovers within the first five minutes). Maybe after Coach Williams decided to stop the full court press the defense slacked. Surely it wasn’t that massive 10 point lead they had built up at that point.

I am far less sure that the Heels will go all the way to the Final Four this year given that injuries and incidents have caused a deep bench to shallow. But they clearly aren’t going anywhere if they get lost on defense.

But tonight it was just good to see DUKE GO DOWN IN FLAMES.

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